Every Friday night just before sundown, about one hundred young Libyans gather around Freedom Square in the city of Misrata to forget about the many problems facing their future — by racing in tricked-out cars, that is.
During the Libyan revolution, some of the fiercest violence ripped apart Misrata. After the fall of the regime, one empty parking lot was converted into Freedom Square, a monument honoring the thousands of Libyans who died fighting during the revolution. Following years of political and economic chaos, Misrata’s Freedom Square has transformed yet again into a space where young Libyans can blow off some steam.
"After the revolution, we started doing this more. We are more passionate about it and love it more now," Hamed Ruweyati of Libya's Youth Club for Motorsport said. "We have a taste of freedom. If a Friday passes without drifting, we're not happy about it."
In a country with cheap gas and an abundance of inexpensive car parts, Misrata’s young racers go through about eight sets of tires for each car every Friday. It's a small price to pay for a taste of freedom in a place still recovering from a revolution.
VICE News mets with participants in the Youth Club for Motorsport who talked about how they unwind after years of war.
This segment originally aired January 17, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.